This week marks the end of my first year running my own business. What a year it has been! The highs have been very high and the lows have been tough but it has been worth every bit! Building a business based on my passion has been an amazing experience.
As a way of helping those starting up in business or considering it, I have recently published an e-book on the Kindle Store called The Only Way Is Brightside: The essential guide to growing your business in 7 easy steps.
I have summarised below my ideas re what I see as the most important three steps in growing business.
Set Clear Goals, Objectives and Targets
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
It always fascinates me how people can expect to be successful when they haven’t identified clear goals. Personal and business success is largely based on thinking big and setting stretch targets to inspire action. You should ensure that the goals you set are specific and time bound. If you don’t have deadlines in place it is easy to put off some of the things you want to achieve and to get distracted. Putting deadlines in place is not to say your priorities and goals won’t change over the next few months and years, that is the nature of goals. However, the excitement of reviewing your goals a year down the line having over-achieved some of them will be an amazing feeling. It also helps to visualise what achieving your career and business goals means for you personally too as this will give you more impetus to achieve.
There is a clear congruency between achieving work goals when you have put personal goals in place. I always advise clients that their personal goals should take a bigger priority than their business goals. Last year I ran a marathon for the first time and having such a clear personal goal whilst setting up the business kept me focused. Your ability to identify and set goals in your personal and business life is crucial to aiding your success.
Don’t limit yourself because other people tell you that you can’t achieve something or that it will be a difficult goal to achieve. I truly believe that nothing worth having comes easy so why not think big!
Build Strong Relationships
‘Your ability to build relationships with other human beings is a massive part of your success.’
The power of building strong relationships in your business life is just as crucial as your personal relationships. Surrounding yourself with people who are experiencing similar challenges and successes to you is important.
I feel this is especially important in the early years of starting your business. Many of your friends and family may not understand what it is like to have your own business and this can make you feel isolated. Your family can be the most supportive of families (I am so lucky to say mine are so supportive) and really be rooting for you to succeed yet still you may find it difficult to explain to them some of the key challenges you are facing in your business.
Some of the great friends I have developed over the last year through attending networking events have been so crucial to helping me grow my business and client base. Realising that someone in a similar position to yourself can support you and your business has been a key learn for me. During a recent catch up with Derek Cowan (Get It Done Cleaning Services) he began questioning me on different elements of my business. His interest in my business and vice versa has helped us both to implement customer focused changes that we may not have identified ourselves but an external perspective made it apparent that growth could be achieved by doing things differently.
‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.’ Oscar Wilde
People love to get to know others – it’s human nature. Bringing your personality to your business is vital as people are not buying your product but often buying into you as a person.
It is sometimes tough to be fully authentic in the work context, however, the more you can be the more you will be successful. I promise being authentic and true to yourself is one of the best lessons I have learned in this first year of business.
It is easy to look at others and aspire to be like them. Yes, appreciate the differences and qualities in others and learn from others. However, by appreciating your own value and gifts you will attract the right support network and customers.
Connecting with people on a personal level and learning about their interests and beliefs will often lead to you forging strong business relationships. People will quickly be able to see if you are putting on a mask, so instead of trying to be all singing and all dancing, unveil the mask and be authentic!
There will be times when you may be struggling and don’t want to share this with others. This is absolutely fine, but what I am not saying is you have to share the ins and outs of your life with everyone. However, sometimes by letting people in who can help you will enable you to reach a more positive outcome.
Focus on these three steps and you will see huge benefits within your business! I would love to hear some of your top tips so please do comment below and share your ideas.